Apparently, people have “triggers” when it comes to parenting. I didn’t know what a trigger was, but then Millie told me that it’s those things that make me completely lose it. I’ve been learning that a huge trigger for me is embarrassment. I became responsible for a tiny human and now I am embarrassed all the time.
It comes from an untrue assumption that every is watching me and that everyone cares. Anytime she doesn’t say please in front of a stranger. Anytime she doesn’t say “hello” back immediately to someone. Talking loudly to Genevieve in church. When she gives one of us the stink eye post-getting in trouble for talking loudly in church.
I can feel it. My cheeks are burning, teeth are gritted. I can feel the anxiety wash over me. Everyone is watching me and they know I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING. EVERYONE KNOWS! It’s classic imposter syndrome. I am just waiting to be found out that I am 100% making up everything as I go.
One of the most recent things I have felt embarrassed about is that Nyra doesn’t take communion. In the Anglican tradition, it isn’t very strange, but lots of our friends who have littles around her age do take communion. I get embarrassed and insecure. I see teeny Jubilee toddle up to the front and dip her bread in the wine and I think OH MY GOSH NYRA’S BEHIND. Not only that, but she is SPIRITUALLY BEHIND. THAT IS NOW A THING AT FIVE YEARS OLD. I think Jubilee knows the Apostles Creed and Nyra forgot who Moses was last week. She thought he was Noah. I AM FAILING. And naturally, communion is in front of everyone, so once again it feels like my embarrassment is on display.
I wanted to force it so badly. JUST TAKE THE BREAD, CHILD! PRETEND YOU’RE INTO IT. But every week, like clockwork, when it comes time to walk down the aisle she lifts up her little arms to be carried. Giancarlo carries her and she receives her blessing. If it’s Ben Wall up at the front, he just whispers, “Jesus loves you.” Other priests say beautiful blessings, but I love that Ben whispers, “Jesus loves you.” I hope she hears it, tucks it away in her heart, remembers it.
I told Giancarlo during church one Sunday that I was embarrassed that she doesn’t take communion. I said something snarky like, “She is too OLD to be carried for heaven’s sake. Ugh we need to get on this communion thing. Didn’t I explain it to her last week? After the Moses incident?!” I apparently get snarky when embarrassed. He said quietly back to me, “I like to carry her.”
I was taken aback. He continued, “When she was around two and things were much harder and felt uncertain, she never wanted to go up. But I was determined to get her up there so she could still receive a blessing. It was so important to me. I didn’t care how she got up there; and ever since then I’ve carried her.”
I stop. Breathe in, breathe out. Realize that I am married to such an astounding man. We have all been carried. None of us have entered into faith on our own. We have all been carried, at times unwillingly, to the feet of Jesus. We have all been helpless. And when we get there, we aren’t chastised for not wanting to come. We are reminded that we are Beloved. He doesn’t care how we got there, He doesnt care if we had the right motives.
I love the Eucharist and I love the Table. I love that week after week, Jesus meets us in a dingy high school auditorium. I love that the Body, the Blood, and Blessings are enough even when our hearts aren’t in it. It still sustains. It doesn’t change, it is unwavering, infallible.
We get to carry her, and I am so grateful.
“For as long as we take this bread, and drink this cup, we proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”